Although the Gauteng provincial government will not be appealing the court judgment allowing Tshwane councillors back at work, it does not regret dissolving the council.
Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, cooperative governance and traditional affairs (CoGTA) MEC Lebogang Maile said the Gauteng provincial government had decided to not appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment.
After spending almost a week mulling over the judgment, Maile said the province had chosen to wait for a Constitutional Court judgment that could be significant for the provincial government.
“If the Constitutional Court finds in favour of the Gauteng executive council [Exco], the SCA judgment will be short-lived,” he said.
This would see councillors vacate the office permanently, opening the way for a new council to be elected.
“Importantly, the reinstated councillors are at risk of being held liable to reimburse the municipality for the salaries and benefits they would have received, from 23 March 2020 (the date of dissolution) up until the date the judgment is delivered by the Constitutional Court in favour of the provincial government.”
However, should the Constitutional Court rule against the provincial government, council would continue to sit and carry out its responsibilities.
“The Constitutional Court’s judgment is important, not just for Gauteng or Tshwane but for the whole country as it will clearly stipulate how Section 139 must be implemented and administered. We are looking forward to that judgment – it will change how the provincial government interacts with municipalities,’” he said. “We accept whatever the judgment will be.”
Despite two courts not ruling in favour of the provincial government, Maile was confident that provincial governance did nothing wrong by dissolving the Tshwane metro.
“The metro was being ran into the ground and we had to intervene to ensure our people get the services they need. We could not fold hands as [the executive] council. We had to intervene and we would do it again if we had to,” he said.
“If we had not intervened, the councillors would still not be acting in a decent manner but now they remember their roles. Now there is dignity in council and that is what we want.’’
Even though administrators’ tenure in Tshwane was now over, Maile said he was proud of their work at the metro.
“The Gauteng government remains committed to provide support to municipalities in a concerted effort to improve and speed up service delivery. It is important to continue and provide stability in the administrative arm of the municipality. Thus, the acting city manager will continue in office, until a permanent city manager is appointed.’’
Maile also welcomed Tshwane’s newly elected mayor, Randall Williams.
“We are hoping we can all work together to ensure the best services reach our people.’’
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